Mestizo/indigenous

Paul H. Dillon illonph at pacbell.net
Fri Nov 21 14:07:39 MST 2003


Nestor,

I find your statement that no "indigenous" culture has ever united a single
country in America." to be highly unusual  if not to say ethnocentric.  What
is it that you might mean by "a country".  The Inca Empire united an area
that extended from Colombia to Chile with a population of tens of millions.
Their administrative organization of the multiple ethnic groups they had
conquered (and that had lasted 100 yrs when the spaniards arrived)
was so highly developed that
the Spanish could basically adopt it and continue to use it for two
centuries ;
inventing thereby the famous two republic doctrine of colonialism. Within
this empire various regional kingdoms, e.g. the Lupaqa around Titicaca or
the Chimu on the north coast of Peru or others had populations of hundreds
of thousands.  All of this quite large by "country" standards for the 1400s
when the Europeans arrived.

Now of course the indigienous people haven't formed any comparable unities
since the Conquest in the Andes (where steel, horses and gunpowder - not
level of development of productive forces - were determinant), the last few
serious attempts (starting with Tupac Amaru II in 1780) have been met with
the most brutal repression.  Tupac Amaru II himself ended up in various
pieces distributed throughout the area around Cuzco having been
disarticulated (torn limb from limb by four horses) in the plaza first.

Farther north there are examples of many large political formations
(countries?) with regional and extra-regional economic systems starting in
the dim past with the Olmec, and including  the Zapotec, the Maya (classic
and post-classic), the Aztecs, and others.

One can also illustrate how the descendants of these people and all the
bloods (as Jose Maria Arguedas would say) that mixed with them have arisen
repeatedly to seize back the power over their own government and how they
have repeatedly been beaten to the ground: Quitana Roo, off whose coast
present day Club Med-type resorts like Cozumel have become dominant, was an
independent Maya republic from the the end of the War of the Castes (1853)
until 1903 when the Mexican federal government constructed a railroad to
Vallodolid
with the express purpose of ending its independence.  In Bolivia today we
see a self-conscious rising to take state power of people who identify
themselves directly with their 16th century, conquered ancestors and in that
case the people (60%) still speak one of two native american languages.  So
as I say, I find your statement quite peculiar .

Paul H. Dillon


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